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Police search Merck KGaA's French plant in thyroid pill inquiry

From Reuters - October 3, 2017

LYON, France (Reuters) - French police searched German drugmaker Merck KGaAs plant in Lyon on Tuesday as part of an investigation into complaints by patients about changes to its thyroid drug Levothyrox, a company spokeswoman said.

A Merck KGaA spokeswoman said the company was ready to help investigators with their work. The search was carried out by a unit of the national police responsible for public health, which was not immediately available to comment.

Around 3 million people in France, 80 percent of them women, use Levothyrox, a drug that works as a stand-in for the hormone thyroxine in patients suffering from hypothyroidism, a condition that affects the bodys metabolism.

In March, Merck GKaA removed lactose from the drug to make it easier to tolerate and replaced it with citric acid and mannitol, a type of sugar alcohol, a move which thousands of patients said had resulted in severe side effects such as memory loss, hair loss, weight gain and palpitations.

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